You’ve read the labels on sausage, right?
There’s often MSG, sugar (or worse sweeteners), lots of refined salt and sometimes other weird fillers that I can’t pronounce.
Even in “good” sausage from pastured pork, you often find sweeteners at least and chemicals too often. Sometimes the farmers who grow animals well aren’t the ones making it into sausage, and there’s often nothing they can do about the ingredients.
If you want to avoid all those additives and save a little money, you can make any ground meat (pork, beef, turkey, chicken) into homemade sausage that’s amazing in recipes like Sausage, Bean and Greens Soup, Sausage Zucchini Bake, and Sausage Spinach Pasta Toss.
Homemade sausage seasoning also allows you to have non-pork sausage easily (kosher, right?) and make certain you know the source of your meat so you can avoid CAFO meat and potentially having strange parts like ears in your sausage.
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A cousin of mine absolutely cannot eat organ meats for health reasons and hadn’t had sausage in years. It was fun to share this with her in my sausage zucchini bake. I am lucky enough to have a farmer nearby with milk-fed pork, oh, my. Yum.
In the photo above you’ll see:
- 1 tsp. fennel seed
- 1 tsp. Real Salt
- ½ tsp. black pepper
- dash cayenne (use up to ¼ tsp.)
Simply brown one pound of ground meat and add this mixture, stirring it around for a minute or two until your kitchen smells amazing. Ta da! Ground sausage.
It’s really that easy to go #unprocessed.
I’m guessing you could also incorporate the spices into raw meat and make patties for breakfast sausage, but this is so much easier that I’ve never even tried it. I usually pull a quarter to a half pound of the cooked sausage out before continuing on with soup or pasta and freeze it for scrambled eggs or pasta sauce.
Spicy Italian Homemade Sausage
Whole fennel seeds
Because the flavor is more intense, I prefer using some ground fennel as well. (I just happened to be out for the first time in years when I took these pictures. Classic Katie-ism.)
This is an easy recipe to try a small amount of something (the fennel, sage), then stir around a bit, taste, evaluate, and add more if necessary.
- Stir ingredients together and store in an airtight jar.
I’ve never added too much fennel. Maybe it’s impossible to add too much fennel! (You can buy fennel from Mountain Rose Herbs if you don’t have a local source for bulk spices.)
This recipe and a whole bunch of other DIY stuff to help you make processed recipes healthier are coming soon in a new eBook, Better Than a Box! It’s part recipes, part tutorial on how to reverse engineer your own recipes to make them totally real food. I can’t wait!